The live Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course (MBSR) is normally offered in March and in September, and is held in Moscow, Idaho (U.S.). The next in-person class will be starting on March 11 (see March Class Details).
If you live out of the Moscow/Pullman area, you may be able to find MBSR offerings near you through a web search, such as "MBSR Minneapolis" or "MBSR London". If attending an in-person course is not possible for you, the Online MBSR course on this site is a 100% free self-guided program which parallels the live course, and can be started at any time. Since the online course uses the same materials and has the same eight-week structure as the in-person course, you can even browse through the online materials to give yourself a preview of the live course (see MBSR "At a Glance").
What is MBSR?
The MBSR course is modeled on the program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The course is a blend of meditation, body awareness and yoga: learning through practice and discussion how our body handles (and can resolve) stress neurologically. Through participation in this course, participants learn to increase their ability to:
- Cope with stress, pain, and the challenges of everyday life
- Deal with disturbing events with grace and composure
- Be fully present and alive in this moment
There is over 30 years of research, much of it specifically studying MBSR, which indicates mindfulness training can have a significant therapeutic effect for those experiencing stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, chronic pain, migraines, heart conditions, diabetes and other ailments. In addition, participants typically report feeling more alive, more "in-tune" with themselves and others.
Class structure and format
The course consist of nine weekly sessions, each lasting approximately 2 ¾ hours. The first of the nine sessions is free, open to anyone who wishes to learn about mindfulness, and also serves as an orientation for those who choose to continue with the remaining eight weeks. In addition to the classes, there is a day-long silent retreat near the end of the course to help deepen participants' experience.
The importance of practice
This course is highly experiential and the daily practice is perhaps the most important component. You wouldn’t expect to learn to surf by reading a book about surfboards and waves, and learning a mindfulness practice is no different than any other skill that involves both mind and body. You know from your own experience in learning to play an instrument, or a sport, or any complex skill whatsoever, that practice is important. Your body/mind is the most complex instrument in the universe. It takes time and practice to use it effectively and harmoniously. Previous participants have said that after a few weeks of practice, although their time to "do things" is technically 30 minutes less, there can be a feeling of having more space and time, even in the middle of a very busy day.
MBSR graduates are invited to monthly gatherings, which include meditation and discussion, as part of the free Graduate Program.
To learn more...
For more about mindfulness, see Introduction to Mindfulness. This is part of the online course and it provides a good introduction to mindfulness even for those who aren't intending to complete an MBSR course.